Crisis in Chhattisgarh's mini steel plants



Raipur: Dozens of mini steel plants in mineral-rich Chhattisgarh Monday suspended production amid a raw material shortage and high power tariffs. The plant owners have sought the state's government's help to prevent closure.

"Up to 40 of the state's total 175 mini steel plants have suspended production," Chhattisgarh Mini Steel Plants Association president Ashok Surana said.

"We have asked the government to urgently step in the matter otherwise all the mini steel plant units will get closed," he said.

The mini plants employ over 5,000 people and have a combined monthly output of 350,000 tonnes. These plants use sponge iron, heavy melting scrap and pig iron as raw materials for producing ingots and billets.

An official source says a delegation of the plant owners met Chief Minister Raman Singh Sunday and briefed him about the "grim situation".

He said Singh assured them that he would take up the raw material crisis issue with the steel ministry and will also talk to public sector National Mineral Development Corporation.

Regarding the power tariff, Singh said, "He would take a final call soon about industrialists' demand for slashing power tariff after examining all aspects", the source said.

IANS